Venue sound system installation is a complex discipline that is unique to each location. No two venues are alike so it is the job of the installation technician to select the right system that supplies the right coverage and the right sound. Of course achieving this is not as easy as one might think because there are many stipulating factors that have to be considered before attempting a professional installation. It’s not just simply about hanging any-old-speakers from any-old-where.
I attended a launch on a brand new line array system that has just hit the market from Bose, the Framingham, Massachusetts-based company, for their newest product unveiling, the RoomMatch and PowerMatch systems.
28 March 2012 was a significant day for Bose SA as it was then, at the Theatre of Marcellus at Emperors Palace, that they presented the RoomMatch line array system to the South African pro audio community. To our delight, we were warmly welcomed with a goodie bag full of info and gifts and fresh coffee, which put a smile on most of our faces. Finally we sat down, waiting for the event to start.
The RoomMatch system is, simply put, a new step forward in line array technology, specifically in the arena of coverage. Its main design goal is to overcome what Bose claims are the three main problems in point source array sound reinforcement, namely:
1. Phase interference seams
2. Coverage seam gaps
3. Unwanted sidewall reflections
These are problems that all loudspeaker array systems face but in fear of getting too deep into the scientific jargon, it’s probably sufficient to outline that:
1. Phase interference seams cause inconsistent frequency response at different points in the room
2. Coverage seam gaps cause inconsistent level at different points in the room
3. Unwanted sidewall reflections cause inconsistent tonal balance throughout the listening area.
The next issue is the issue of power. In the spirit of eliminating the need for multiple power amp combinations to supply power to differing components in a complete system, Bose has created one high power amplifier called the PowerMatch PM8500; a class-D, 4000W amplifier with eight discrete outputs and onboard DSP. The total power of the amp can be sliced any which way you desire, for example, 2 x 2000W, 4 x 1000W, 8 x 500W, and so on, all from one household power main. A PM8500N model is also available, the only difference being the addition of an Ethernet port. Both amps are digitally configurable, either from the front panel or via USB and Bose’s patented ControlSpace Designer Software.
The core of the RoomMatch system is a fully bi-amped, modular loudspeaker array that incorporates fixed dispersion array modules that fire at specific horizontal and vertical angles. This makes the system highly configurable to match the exact coverage requirements for the specific installation. There are a total of fifteen different modules, each with a unique coverage pattern, a single subwoofer module, and rigging accessories. The subwoofer can either be flown with the array or floor mounted and has a response of 80 – 40Hz. Without the subwoofer, however, the frequency response of the array can still extend down to 60 Hz, which is ample for most applications.
An important note is that Bose claims to have virtually eliminated phase seam interference due to their patented Continuous Arc Diffraction Slot Manifold, which is a specialized waveguide for six high frequency drivers that are found in each box. This feature is a key point in the RoomMatch system.
Finally, the sound…
The last part of the presentation included the playback of different types of program material, both recorded and live. We were treated to classical, acoustic guitar and rock music examples to showcase the system’s ability to reproduce clearly over a wide variety of styles. The classical and acoustic music sounded full, warm and three dimensional and this is where I feel the system excelled. The rock music also sounded good but lacked the imaging and depth of the classical music. Given the fact that it is designed for installations only in houses of worship and theatres, etc, I would say that the sound is well suited.
During playback, we were invited to wander around and take a listen and I was surprised to find that the coverage was as accurate as the claim. Tonal balance was unvarying from point to point and I would have to say that Bose has really lived up to the claims of total coverage. The system seemed to “glow”.
Bose has developed a high quality, innovative, and competitive system that offers much for many venues where coverage is critical. They have already garnered two inAVation awards for “Most InAVative Commercial Audio Product” and “Most InAVative Commercial Loudspeaker” an indication that the industry has sat up and taken notice.
For more info go to TID Distribution